Times of Oman
Nov 26, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 11:11 PM GMT
How covered are you for your old age?
November 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Do you have enough money for your old age? If you are worried about it then you are not alone. Sixty-five is never a long way off. If you think it is, just watch how fast your own children grow. There is no need to panic. If you do that than you leave yourself open to miseries, perhaps a heart attack and a sudden depart from this world.

 There are many typical examples of people who think they are not earning enough to save for their old age. Work pensions are never enough. Many people look for private pension funds but paying for it is a financial challenge. With mortgage to pay and family to support, extra money is always a problem. Private education costs a lot of money for your children. You may have a car repayment and a commercial loan, too. Not many people these days can boast having enough savings to supplement their pensions. Besides, money in the bank is always hit with inflation if it stays too long there.

You could go and ask for a raise from your boss. It is not easy simply because most of us stay in the same salary scale for at least five years. You may be lucky if you are due for promotion but you may find the difference is too little to make any significant improvement. The other solution is to work two jobs. You may want to sweat it out in your spare time and risk a long separation from your family. If you think money earned from your work is never enough, think of those who have lost their jobs.

They don't think of their pensions but how they could feed their family now. People out of work could rely on friends. But sadly, friendship only works out well for you when you don't have to ask for a favour. You could turn to your relatives but usually they think people out of work are nothing but a financial burden. Increasingly, many people are forced to stay home for various reasons.

 There are not many provisions in the Gulf countries to cover workers who lost their jobs. Not many private companies insure their employees either in case of critical illness or unexpected job redundancy. It is never too late and perhaps one day we may move towards the direction of having a system that looks after the welfare of people who have lost their jobs.

At the moment, you are left to fend for yourself or look for support from family members and relatives. However, there are many good Samaritans. For many people here in the Gulf, neighbourly love is something you can always rely on. Not too far from where I live, a local mosque Imam came to the rescue of a man who suddenly found himself home-bound after suffering from a stroke. A quick neighbourhood council was gathered and a monthly relief fund was created for the disabled man.

No one is secure or guaranteed a lifetime of good fortune. It can happen anytime to anyone. Setting aside provisions is a privilege of the minority. All our glittering cars, villas and skyscrapers are just a façade hiding the grim realities that exist in the background.

People who start life making ends meet are lucky if they continue to do so for the rest of their lives. We don't look back with relief as we get older but worry about the prospects of retiring with dignity. Perhaps if we continue to keep an eye to our neighbours, they may remember to reciprocate. Neighbours, I have observed, can be more caring than relatives.

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